Great interview with Denys Baptiste by the wonderful Robert Elms on BBC Radio London last week ahead of his show at Harrow Arts Centre. Lovely to hear Robert acclaim Denys’ album, Let Freedom Ring! (Dune Records, DUNECD010) as ‘one of the most eloquent statements to have come out of British jazz in years’. We agree! It is an extraordinary, very special piece of music that has become a modern-day jazz classic.
Denys Baptiste has been interviewed onBBC Radio 3 to provide a bit of a prelude to a new BBC Radio 3 drama, Bix: Singing The Blues by Robert Forrest to be broadcast this Sunday 17 November at 10.00pm. Set against a backdrop of racial and musical segregation in the 1920s, the play gives a fictionalised version of the one and only time Bix and Louis Armstrong played together in a private, after-hours session.
According to the BBC programme notes:
Apart from their genius, the musicians Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong had little in common. Armstrong was black and Beiderbecke was white and musical segregation was complete in the 1920’s. Armstrong would go on to be one of the first musicians to challenge this racial divide, and his life story is well documented. Beiderbecke was an alcoholic who died young – but perhaps his greatest tragedy was that he never got to play with the best – because in his view the best were black.
Set your reminder now! BBC Radio 3Sunday 17 November at 10.00pm
Through music we remember Martin Luther King, his words and the movements of peace and equality that he stood for.
Some shots from Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank last month:
Look exciting? Theres still time!
And if you missed the gig last month – we’re still on tour and will be at the Harrow Arts Centre on November 21st with Denys Baptiste, the full 13-piece band (as seen above) and the stirring voices of Lemn Sissay and Ben Okri delivering poetry which not only underlines Yeast Culture’s archival Civil Rights footage, but also incites a united sense of social change among audience and performer alike. Tickets are now on sale for just £15!
This excellent documentary is being repeated on Wednesday 6 November. If you missed the previous broadcast, do your best to see it this time round. Some great insights into the Black Civil Rights movement and its leaders, and the story behind Dr King’s historic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. Well worth the effort to see it.